Growth Trends for Related Jobs
A Career That's in the Blood
When your child tearfully gets a blood test, the results may be evaluated by a hematologist, who is a kind of detective who hunts for a diagnosis hidden in a test tube of blood. Hematologists are physicians who diagnose and treat many blood disorders, from anemia to cancer. Their high salaries reflect the long education path to this specialty.
Hematologists care for patients who not only have blood disorders, but also problems with their bone marrow and lymphatic system. This internal medicine specialty works with patients with many kinds of anemia, as well as cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma. They also treat conditions that cause too much or too little clotting of the blood.
Because hematologists treat patients with blood or lymph system cancers, they often couple their degree with a degree in oncology as well.
Students interested in hematology take science courses such as anatomy and physiology in high school and move on to pre-med courses in college, including microbiology, chemistry and public health. Like all aspiring doctors, they take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) before applying to a medical school, which is a very competitive process.
During their first two years of medical school, hematologist candidates focus on courses such as biochemistry, anatomy, pharmacology and medical ethics. In the final two years, medical students start seeing patients in hospitals and clinics, rotating through a number of specialties.
Doctors who want to specialize in hematology move on to a hospital residency for at least three years before embarking on the last phase of their training―a fellowship in hematology and oncology, which takes three years. They are then finally eligible to become board certified in hematology by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
While many hematologists work in hospitals, others work in clinics or open their own private practice. Some hematologists are employed by blood banks, laboratories, and in corporate and government offices.
Years of Experience and Salary
The many strenuous years of college that a physician candidate undertakes eventually pay off in a high salary. The median annual salary for a hematologist-oncologist is $289,699, according to Salary.com. Even those with just a year or two of experience after their fellowship can expect to earn about $233,000. Mid-career hematologists with 10 to 15 years of experience can bring home up to $319,000 a year. Those with 20+ years of experience generally earn $325,000 or more. The most experienced and highest-paid hematologists make $441,000 per year or more.
Job Growth Trend
As the population ages, the need for physicians of all specialties is expected to rise, particularly those who treat cancers. Job growth for physicians is expected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much more quickly than the 7 percent job growth for all professions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Barbara Ruben has written about careers for WorkingMother.com and chorn.com, as well as job and career articles for the Beacon Newspapers, a group of four newspapers for older adults.